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Fit In, Stand Out: Mastering the FISO FACTOR - The Key to Leadership Effectiveness in Business and Life Hardcover – September 16, 2006


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Amazon.com Review

At different times, many business leaders face the question of whether to roil waters or to calm them--shake up the system or become part of it. Accept the status quo too passively, goes the thinking, and a leader loses his or her power to push a group's performance to its highest potential. On the other hand, firebrands who push too hard and refuse to accept organizational realities can outrun their followers, and find themselves ineffective. Like Bob Herbold's The Fiefdom Syndrome or Larry Bossidy's Execution, this book comes from a corporate insider and offers readers a map to navigating the often-complicated political intrigues which characterize large organizations.

Author Blythe McGarvie works today as a consultant and board member of such global giants as Accenture, Pepsi Bottling, and St. Paul Travelers. In addition, she served previously as CFO of Bic Group, a Fortune 500 company. Through her performance in these roles, she's demonstrated her own career savvy. Now she seeks to pass on the lessons. As McGarvie explains it, the central challenge for leaders of modern, complex organizations is to understand how different people, processes, and trends integrate with each other ("fit in"), while at the same time retaining enough perspective and strength to transform those pieces and make their whole greater than the sum of individual parts ("stand out").

In a breezy writing style that weaves together perspectives from her personal experiences with anecdotes from a wide range of companies, such as GE, Microsoft, and Marriott, McGarvie makes the argument for 6 key traits. Leaders who want to fit in and also stand out, she says, must possess financial acumen; integrity; an ability to envision, build, and maintain alliances; learn; offer perspective; and practice global citizenship.

By themselves, the traits McGarvie describes are hardly ground-breaking. Some may criticize this book for rehashing old management axioms in an all too familiar way. The value of McGarvie's perspectives comes from her efforts to tie each of the 6 traits to a specific by-product which helps leaders both fit in and stand out. Financial acuity, she writes, provides leaders with a key dose of confidence necessary for their jobs. Integrity builds trust. Linkages provide access to new opportunities, both for leaders and for their teams. Learning provides ongoing innovation. Perspective leads to balanced judgment. And finally, global citizenship leads to agility. The heart of McGarvie's book comes from her explanations of the effects of these 6 qualities on a leader's reputation within an organization.

Another helpful quality of this book is its explanation of priorities: in a pinch, should aspiring CEOs fit in first, or stand out? These paths don't always conflict, but when they do, how should the tradeoff be resolved? According to McGarvie, they should fit in before standing out. Hopefully, though, most readers of this book will benefit from its insights, and avoid giving up one or the other for too long. --Peter Han

From Booklist

McGarvie is president of LIF Group and sits on the board of several major corporations. As former CFO of Bic Group, she was one of only 10 women CFOs in the Fortune 500. Her take on the making of great leaders revolves around the paradox that to lead effectively, you have to both fit in and stand out from the crowd, two seemingly opposing concepts that appear contradictory. But solving this puzzle may be the key to opening the door to the C-suite (the chief executive team) to get an inside look at how senior business leaders undertake their work. McGarvie approaches the Fit In Stand Out (FISO) concept from a number of angles, including "Financial Acuity," "Integrity" (an increasingly rare commodity these days), "Linkages" (the pathways of networks), and "Global Citizenship," which entails mastering the ability to transcend geographical boundaries in pace with the exponential increase of globalization. A fundamental guide to choosing a path in the maze of corporate culture--from someone who has been there and done it. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 213 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (September 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071460799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071460798
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,736,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Blythe McGarvie has operated profitable business units and managed employees in business endeavors from China to Chile, France to Finland. She has been Chief Financial Officer of a Fortune 500 company in the US and of a leading consumer goods company in Paris. She is the author of the best-seller Shaking the Globe and Fit In Stand Out. She serves as a member of the board of directors for Accenture, Viacom and Wawa, Inc. (the 50th largest U.S. private company).
Since 2003, McGarvie speaks to groups around the world and was appointed Senior Fellow for Northwestern University's Kellogg Innovation Network.

Customer Reviews

This makes FISO the foundation, the leadership platform as Blythe states, of personal success.
FAD
I found Fit In Stand Out fun and interesting to read, with alot of great tips that you wouldn't find in other books of this nature.
Deborah A. Morrin
Making a company successful will also lead to your own success if you know the right way to fit out and stand out.
JSK

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andrea M. Schara on November 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One reason we buy books on leadership is to acquire other people's wisdom: the wise words, the principles, the five points, or even just a few strategic shortcuts. But the bottom line is that being a leader is all about managing self with other people.

I think one of the best books on this topic is Blythe McGarvie's Fit In, Stand Out: Mastering the FISO Factor (2005). The book offers practical, rational ideas on the skills needed by leaders in today's world, and also (surprise!) gives readers the opportunity to learn from personal stories. In 1995, McGarvie was one of only 10 CFO's in the Fortune 500 companies. She can walk the walk.

In her book she states, "Even the most powerful leaders must fit in to ensure others will respect and follow them; however, leaders must also stand out from the group to be recognized and to drive corporate growth and change." She describes learning how to stand out and fit in as a process of transformation and integration that occurs in significant linkages. (She uses terms like "social capital" and "linkages," which are better known in the corporate world than psychology's R word - relationships.)

Clearly, McGarvie understands that leaders must find ways to handle self in relationships if they are to function at their very best in groups. As I read her book, I realized that although McGarvie has no official training in psychology, she sees the main point found in Family Systems Theory. She sees the real organizational obstacles and challenge to being an emotionally separate individual. In addition, she has found methods to enhance people's ability to function as knowledgeable leaders.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Deborah A. Morrin on November 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I found Fit In Stand Out fun and interesting to read, with alot of great tips that you wouldn't find in other books of this nature. The advice is practical and down to earth and you can tell the author has solid real-world experience to draw upon - something you can't say for alot of leadership books. I found her advice on fitting in while also standing out good and think I will find alot of her tips useful. It is very hard to navigate the ever shifting waters in companies where you need to balance the seemingly opposing values of fitting in, and also standing out. I appreciate this book and am glad to have it as a guide for me.

DAM
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JSK on November 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Reading Fit In, Stand Out has been one of the most rewarding books I have read in many years. It lays out the framework for integrating into a team and a company (fit in) while also transforming the company to try new ideas and to grow (stand out). Making a company successful will also lead to your own success if you know the right way to fit out and stand out. The author shares personal examples from her own life, but more important, has great stories from all sorts of business leaders she knows or interviewed (Jack Welch, Bob Lipp, Steve Ballmer to name a few). This would make a great Holiday gift for people just starting a career or those who want to reach the top in their field, but haven't been able to do it yet. I highly recommend the book. You will learn a lot and have fun in the process.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Hutton on May 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in launching a buiness career, be warned that this is a text full of soft advice that is fairly commonsensical. The author's contacts et.al. do add some glint to her book, but it is only a surface shine. There is little here that most readers do not, honestly, already know. If you are a business insider, you may find this a pleasant soporific. If you are trying to get into this nexus, do not spend your hard-earned money on trifles like this one. It won't help, trust me.
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By FAD on July 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Blythe's book has become the centerpiece of how I fit leadership and personal development into a tight circle - when I look at all the leadership, consulting and other books; they fit into one of the FISO Factor Catalysts. This makes FISO the foundation, the leadership platform as Blythe states, of personal success. I've now recommended this book to over 100 people without hesitation. Life long learning dictates continuing to read new books and developing ones' self and FISO with the six catalysts is the center of the mind map. When you have read your Zig Ziglar and Stephen Covey, sit down with this book as you develop your mission statement and you will be rewarded. But remember, to successfully execute your mission statement, you will need the skills to fit in and stand out - the FISO Factor.
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Format: Hardcover
There are important connections between success, business ethics, and financial strengths: connections illustrated in Fit In Stand Out: Mastering The Fiso Factor. Author Blythe McGarvie is a leadership expert who has taught effectiveness for many years: during the course of her teachings she discovered a basic lesson: in order to be a successful leader you must both fit in and stand out. The two are not opposites necessarily, as chapters here demonstrate: McGarvie reveals a FISO Factor program which helps business professionals learn how to achieve both.
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Format: Hardcover
There are important connections between success, business ethics, and financial strengths: connections illustrated in Fit In Stand Out: Mastering The Fiso Factor. Author Blythe McGarvie is a leadership expert who has taught effectiveness for many years: during the course of her teachings she discovered a basic lesson: in order to be a successful leader you must both fit in and stand out. The two are not opposites necessarily, as chapters here demonstrate: McGarvie reveals a FISO Factor program which helps business professionals learn how to achieve both.
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